US military plans to exit Afghanistan within five years: New York Times
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US military plans to exit Afghanistan within five years: New York Times

The Pentagon plan is being offered in peace negotiations that could result in the Afghan government sharing power with the Taliban militant group, The New York Times reported Thursday, citing former American and European officials. The plan would also require the departure of NATO forces in Afghanistan at the same time, after having little success in stabilizing the country since their invasion in 2001, the newspaper reported. The proposal calls for cutting by half the 14,000 American troops currently in Afghanistan in the coming months. It would task the remaining 8,600 international troops from NATO and non-NATO nations with training the Afghan military. However, the Taliban is reportedly deeply opposed to the proposal for American troops remaining in Afghanistan for up to five years. US President Donald Trump has long expressed skepticism of enduring American wars overseas. However, US officials warned that Trump could upend the new plan at any time. On Monday, US diplomats met with the Taliban in Qatar in the highest-level negotiations yet, including the attendance of General Austin Miller, the commander of the international forces in Afghanistan. The negotiations between the US and the Taliban are aimed at ending the 17-year war in Afghanistan. The Afghan government has not been a part of the negotiations because of Taliban reluctance to talk to President Ashraf Ghani or his envoys. The US invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 and overthrew a Taliban regime in power at the time. But US forces have remained bogged down there through the presidencies of George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and now Donald Trump. James Stavridis, a retired American admiral and former top NATO commander who is now with the Carlyle Group private equity firm, said empowering the Afghan military is more important than an enduring international troop presence for Afghanistan’s security. “I think the security forces would be very capable of keeping order in the country, particularly in a scenario where the Taliban has come in from the cold,” Stavridis said.

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